Shower at Ôhashi

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”Shower at Ôhashi” has always been pointed out with pride as having deeply influenced the French Impressionists.  Van Gogh even copied the same composition in oil.

What we see as a long raft of logs in this print, actually showed two rafts in the original. The bridge is no longer at its original site, but was somewhere near the present Ryôgoku Bridge, the center of the annual fireworks display which has been suspended recently for causing congestion to Tokyo’s heavy traffic.

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The umbrellas that are depicted, can still be seen in the smaller towns, mainly hot-spring resorts.  Inns keep a stock of them for the convenience of customers on rainy days and usually the name or trade-mark is conspicuously painted on its top.  The handle and ribs are made of bamboo and the covering is oiled paper.  When closed, it is not carried by the handle but dangled from the top where a wire ring is attached.  Being strong and heavy the samurai learnt to use it as a temporary weapon of defense until he could get at his sword.  Since the ribs folded like bats wings, they were called the kômori or bat.

Mingling with the pattering rain were the sounds of wooden footgear, the geta, thonged like the sandal, the underside of the oblong pieces of wood had two lateral uprights, sometimes one, for easier passage on muddy ground.  A cap of stiff oiled paper or leather was affixed as a toe guard.

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